If you want to keep a bearded dragon in your house, then it’s really pivotal for you to set up a really good habitat for it. Now when we’re talking about habitat, we’re not talking about simply setting up a tank and putting your beardie in it. We’re talking about a proper home where your little scaly friend can be both healthy and happy.
Apart from picking the right tank, you also have to account for the proper lighting, decor, and the appropriate temperature setting for the enclosure. I made this article full of detail so that you can get all the answers you need in place.
There are various types of enclosures (tanks, cages, or terrariums) that you can pick as the ideal habitat for your bearded dragon. Many of your options will vary in terms of functionality, the material that they’re made of, and price.
But regardless of the type of tank that you choose in the end, you must always ensure that the product comes with a screen lid. The screen lid not only optimizes humidity levels but also allows proper airflow.
Besides that, every enclosure has to have UVA, basking and UVB lights, and a ceramic heat emitter just to keep the enclosure warm at night.
Here are some of the many tanks or enclosures that you can choose for your little scaly buddy:
1. Glass Terrarium
Glass terrariums, much like fish tanks, are the most popular types of enclosures for beardies. They’re pretty cheap and quite easy to get at local pet stores or online retail sites such as Craigslist.
What I don’t like about them is that they’re not well insulated and are pretty heavy. But even though the lack of insulation doesn’t really bother the beardies much, several owners often complain that this diminishes the color of their pets.
2. Wooden Enclosures
Wooden enclosures for bearded dragons are actually made out of melamine boards that can be bought from local hardware stores. You can either build these enclosures on your own, buy them online, or in your local pet store. Your beardies will really appreciate these types of enclosures because the whiteboards reflect more light.
Note : The only negatives are that they’re very heavy in weight and in money.
3. PVC Cages
These cages look similar to melamine enclosures. The only difference is that they’re made of PVC plastic. This is a lighter material that allows them to be moved with relative ease. Although they may be a bit more expensive than melamine, they come with better aesthetics. The material is way more attractive and smooth.
4. Vision Cages
Vision cages are probably the most professional choice for owners since they are made of one molded piece of plastic, have built-in lamp shrouds, are chemically resistant, and pretty simple to clean. Even though they’re expensive, most beardie breeders make use of these cages by stacking them on top of one another to save space.
A bearded dragon’s tank flooring comes as a package deal with the cage to ensure your pet feels both healthy and happy. There are several different options to consider here but I recommend that you don’t get distracted. Just stick with the non-particle substrate. These should be your only option because they have been proven to be the safest.
Here’s a list of both loose particle as well as non-particle substrates : Check out my Recent Substrate Guide
1. Loose Particle Substrates
This type of flooring or substrate is loose in a way that produces dust and debris that bearded dragons might ingest. This poses a serious risk of impaction. Impaction is when the digestive tract of beardies gets clogged and their bowel movements have ceased. If left untreated, it could result in serious or even deadly consequences.
Another potential risk of loose particle substrates is that they tend to get into the eyes and nose of beardies. This may lead to infection.
Here are some of the most common loose particle substrates. Note- I highly recommend you don’t go out to buy these:
- Play sand
- Walnut shells
- Wood shaving/chips
- Alfalfa pellets
- Calcium sand
2. Non Particle Substrates
Non particle substrates will save you alot of headache and worry. Not only does this type of bedding lack the risks of impaction, but it also doesn’t get mixed up or end up in the eyes or nose of beardies. This would cause them unrelenting irritation.
Some of the most popular types of non-particle substrates that I do recommend have been listed below.
- Paper towels
- Ceramic Tile
- Reptile Carpet
- Not adhesive linoleum
But even though these are the much safer options overall, non-particle substrates do have some negatives that need to be considered. For example, the claws of dragons might end up getting stuck in reptile carpet threads. Also, some owners were displeased about how slippery the tiles can be. If this is happening then its probably best to make sure that your bearded dragon has something to climb onto.
We also suggest adding sand, topsoil, and non-toxic adhesive on the surface of the tiles to give them more traction.
A tank should be more than just an empty space for your bearded dragon the roam around. It should have all the makings and qualities of a home for your pet. We are now at the point where we want to focus more on the tank’s interior design. Lets get your cage decked out with some good furniture. Brief descriptions of all my furniture recommendations have been listed below.
When it comes to plants, I suggest adding the ones that are safe like this one and aesthetically pleasing for your bearded dragon.
2. A Branch, Large Rock, or Any Other Type of Platform
Branches or large rocks are good platforms for beardies. This allows it to come within 10 inches of their tank’s basking light. The basking light keeps them healthy by helping with their digestion.
It seems beardies have a similar taste for lounging around like humans. Its funny, but I feel like my little guy started to love me just a little more after I got him a simple hammock that was just about its size. Bearded dragon owners can find special hammocks made especially for beardies either online or at most pet stores. Here’s the one that I have.
Most beardies need something like a reptile hide that allows them to sleep inside and or sneak away to. Almost any pet store or online retailer has one of these. They’re also quite essential for your little scaly buddy during the period of brumation. This is is when they hibernate for the winter or fall. Check out this Hide.
The tank for your bearded dragon has two sides, a cool side and a hot side. The ideal temperature of the tank varies according to the side your dragon is located. Beardies need to be on the hot and warm side of their tank. The temperatures for the hot side need to be between 100 to 110 °F. The warm side should be between 75 to 85°F, and not hotter than that.
Their natural habitat temperatures can drop to 65°F at night, so you’ll want to account for that. The temperature needs for juvenile and adult bearded dragons slightly vary depending on basking temperatures. For adults, their ideal basking temperatures should be around 100°. The juveniles should be a tad warmer and around 110°.
In order to make sure that you’re getting the ideal temperatures on both sides of the enclosure during both day and night, I suggest buying two individual thermometers. Here’s a link to a more in-depth article about temperatures for bearded dragons. Click here to view a popular thermometer for bearded dragon owners.
Lighting & Heat Source
You should buy a ceramic heat emitter if you find it difficult to maintain the temperature of the tank within the specified ranges listed above. This is because under tank heaters could pose a danger to your beardie. It can end up shorting out and burning them in the process.
It’s also recommended that you get lots of light that mimic the intensity of the beardies’ natural habitat in the deserts of Australia. The whole tank has to be lit up using full-spectrum lighting. This is either a UVA or a UVB fluorescent light.
Make sure that whatever bulb you buy emits UVB. This is the kind of energy produced from the sun and is essential for your beardie’s survival. UVA light is the type that we see.
Also, be sure to purchase a decent basking light for your dragon to warm itself under. Without UVA/UVB lighting, and a basking light, beardies can potentially become sick. So it’s up to you to make sure that the enclosure gets proper lighting. Proper lighting equals a proper healthy environment.
It’s also recommended that you get a platform that enables your beardie to come within 10 inches of the basking light. This allows them to be able to warm themselves the right way.
Water & Humidity
Unlike other pets, bearded dragons extract juice from their food to get their water supply. They can also drink freshwater, but not too much. Fruits and dark leafy greens help bearded dragons stay hydrated. You can also moderately spray them with some water using a spray bottle or you can provide your beardie with a shallow water supply in its cage.
Since bearded dragons are desert dwellers, its necessary for their habitat to be dry and humid. Humidity is essential in helping a beardie’s shedding process. As long as the enclosure comes with a screen lid, air can flow in and out of the tank at any time. This will provide suitable humidity levels for your pet.
And that’s pretty much everything when it comes to bearded dragon habitats. The habitat for beardies is unique and the requirements listed in this article need to be followed as close as possible in order to keep them both healthy and happy.